Bradley (5-3) at Milwaukee (8-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 7, 4 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Klotsche Center (5,000) -- Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Television: None. Home Record: Bradley 5-1, Milwaukee 2-1. Away Record: Bradley 0-2, Milwaukee 4-1. Neutral Record: Bradley 0-0, Milwaukee 2-0. Conference Record: Bradley 0-0, Milwaukee 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 2-2.
GAME NOTES: The Milwaukee Panthers try to match their best start since 2002-03 as they challenge the Bradley Braves in non-conference play at the Klotsche Center.
Since falling to DePaul back on Nov. 19, the Panthers have rattled off four straight wins, the most recent of those coming on Tuesday night in an 83-72 final at home. Milwaukee has now won eight of the last nine and has a record of 8-2 through the first 10 games of 2013-14, one victory shy of the best start for the program in a little more than a decade.
As for the Braves, they are currently dealing with a four-game road losing streak dating back to last season. Three nights ago, the team bowed for the third time in the last four games overall with a 72-66 setback versus IUPUI.
The Panthers won the last meeting between the programs back in 2008 by a score of 86-74 at U.S. Cellular Arena, knotting the series at two games apiece in the process.
Bradley lost its first on-campus game in about three decades earlier this week when the team shot a dismal 31.3 percent from the floor and 3-of-22 behind the 3-point line versus visiting IUPUI. Omari Grier finished with 17 points, thanks in large part to his 9-of-9 effort at the free-throw line and not his 3-of-13 showing from the field, which included 2-of-11 beyond the arc. Walt Lemon and Tyshon Pickett put down 13 points apiece, the latter adding eight rebounds, followed by Auston Barnes with 11 points and eight boards of his own off the bench.
Through eight games, the leading scorer for the Braves is Lemon with his 16.9 ppg, accounting for a team-best 35 assists and 16 steals along the way for good measure. Pickett checks in with 14.4 ppg and a team-high 7.3 rpg, while Grier comes up with 13.0 ppg even though he has knocked down just 35.4 percent of his attempts from the field.
Trailing by 11 points early in the second half against the Northern Iowa version of the Panthers on Tuesday, Milwaukee put together a massive come- from-behind bid and led by as many as 14 midway through the period in order to capture the win. Matt Tiby and Jordan Aaron both scored 19 points for the hosts, followed by Steve McWhorter and Austin Arians with 16 and 11 points, respectively. The squad turned the ball over just 11 times and held UNI to 5- of-24 shooting beyond the arc.
One of three players to have started all 10 games for the Panthers, Tiby checks in with 14.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per contest, both of which pace the program heading into the weekend. Aaron accounts for 13.5 ppg, despite his miserable 36.4 percent accuracy from the floor, while Kyle Kelm (12.4 ppg) tries to make up for Aaron's shortcomings with 61.8 percent shooting from the field for a team that is producing 77.3 ppg at the moment.
The Braves certainly have some talent on the roster this season, but for the time being Milwaukee is a group that can't seem to do anything wrong and as long as the Panthers defense doesn't crack this should become another win for the hosts.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Milwaukee 73, Bradley 67
12/07 10:34:54 ET